& ASSET DISTRIBUTION
The division of marital property is a fundamental part of the divorce process. Married couples have shared assets that the court will seek to divide equally. Shared marital assets include houses, cars, and valuables, as well as retirement and investment accounts. Property acquired before the marriage and maintained separately during the marriage as well as gifts and inheritances are considered exceptions to equal distribution.
Florida courts consider the following factors when determining the disposition of marital assets:
Each spouse’s contribution to the property or financial welfare of the family during the length of the marriage, including the contribution of a spouse who is a homemaker.
The current value of property and assets including retirement and investment accounts.
The current economic situation of each spouse and the ability to support him/herself. Courts often prioritize the award of the family home to the spouse who retains primary custody of the children.
In addition to assets, marital debt must be divided as well. Courts seek to divide the marital assets and debt in a way that results in an equal distribution for both parties.
It’s possible for spouses to amicably enter into a property distribution agreement even if child custody and support issues remain. Narrowing the contested issues in a divorce helps reduce the time, expense and risk associated with the court process.
Divorce is a painful and unclear process. An experienced divorce attorney can help you work through the often confusing and complex procedure of dividing marital assets and debts. Before making any decisions it’s vital to have a clear understanding of the issues. Minot Law can help protect your future with its extensive knowledge concerning real estate and asset valuation and will seek to ensure that your interests are preserved. Call for a consultation today.
CHILD CUSTODY & SUPPORT
When parents get divorced decisions must be made concerning where the children will live, how decisions affecting their lives will be made, and the amount of support the non-custodial parent will pay. Parents can make collaborative decisions regarding these matters privately. However, if an agreement concerning living arrangements and financial support is not achieved the court must decide these issues based on what it perceives to be the best interests of the children.
When courts award primary custody to one parent it typically includes the right to make decisions about the child’s education, religion, healthcare, and other important matters. In some situations, however, the court will decree a shared “legal custody” of the children awarding equal authority in decision making to both parents. But in most situations the court will grant one parent primary custody with the other receiving scheduled visitation rights.
When deciding who will be the primary custodian Florida courts consider a wide range of factors. Some of these considerations include:
Mental and physical health of the parents;
Religion and cultural considerations;
Need for a stable home environment;
Support and opportunity for interaction with members of extended family;
The purpose of child support is to ensure the children are adequately provided for regardless of where they reside. Non-custodial parents will be required to pay a monthly allowance to cover their child's expenses. Many factors influence the amount of child support including children’s expenses, assets and income of each parent, as well as the specifics of the custody and visitation arrangement. Florida courts uphold the right of children to benefit from the income of both parents in the same way that the children would have if their parents stayed together.
Protecting your parental rights and ensuring your child’s well-being is not always easy in a divorce. It’s important to know your rights. Minot Law will help you navigate this complex process, outline your options and help you reach the best outcome for you and your children.
Spousal support or alimony is a financial award to partially offset a dramatic decrease in one spouse’s standard of living or to provide transitional income for a spouse who has been out of the workforce. Alimony can be temporary or permanent depending upon the circumstances.
Florida courts look to many factors when determining if spousal support should be awarded, and if so, the amount of that support. Factors include the length of the marriage, the age and physical condition of each spouse, the length of time needed for training or education to become self-sufficient, and the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage.
Depending on the circumstances courts have the option of awarding different types of alimony.
Lump-sum alimony is a payment of funds made all at one time.
Temporary spousal maintenance/alimony is awarded for a period of time designed to provide a certain level of financial support, giving the lesser income-producing spouse time to seek further education or establish a higher earning capacity in the workforce. Temporary alimony obligations usually last between two and five years.
Permanent alimony is sometimes considered in marriages over fifteen years or when a spouse is disabled. Permanent alimony payments are made part of the final divorce decree and last for more than five years.
If you’re divorcing and in need of advice concerning your rights or likely obligations, the help you need is only a call away. If you’re not receiving the payments previously awarded to you by the court Minot Law can help you get that money.
HIGH ASSET DIVORCES
Couples possessing a high net worth present complex issues raising the stakes in a divorce. If you or your spouse is an executive in a company, professional practice, partnership or other organization, you face additional concerns when dividing your marital property which may dramatically impact your future.
Minot Law is experienced in representing a wide variety of clients including corporate executives, small business owners, professionals, doctors, lawyers, engineers, and others who have significant assets they wish to protect. We also have represented the spouses of these individuals who feel they may lose everything invested during the marriage if they don’t have a competent, experienced lawyer to serve as their advocate.
In addition to a large salary most executives receive additional benefits. Many of these perks have value and are considered part of the marital estate. Additionally, business owners and those in professional practices may have agreements with partners that will be affected by a divorce.
In our practice we have experience dealing with:
Vehicle and Travel Allowances
Severance or Retirement Agreements
The benefits mentioned each have value. The court may treat them as assets or incorporate them into the income of the person receiving them. Therefore, it’s important to work with a lawyer who understands the nature of these issues.
At Minot Law we understand how these issues impact the final outcome of a high-asset divorce. Our goal is to preserve your fair share of the marital estate while achieving the maximum benefit for you.
THE COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE PROCESS
The collaborative divorce process is a relatively new method of resolving divorce issues out of court. Similar to mediation, the outcome of the collaborative process is not binding on either party until the parties agree to an outcome and sign a final agreement.
In a collaborative divorce, the parties use lawyers who retain the services of neutral experts that provide information to both parties. Unlike mediation, however, this process typically occurs before a substantial amount of fees and costs are incurred to prepare for trial.
The fundamental principle behind this option is that the parties maintain a strong commitment to achieve a settlement without litigation. Both the lawyers and the professionals hired to assist the parties are each committed to working cooperatively to make the divorce process as much of a “win-win” situation as possible. If the parties don’t reach a settlement but proceed through the court system, the parties many times agree in advance that the lawyers will withdraw from the case. This commitment creates a huge incentive for all parties to settle, and lawyers do not benefit from prolonging the case through the court system.
If both of the parties and their attorneys are committed to the collaborative process, this option creates an atmosphere that fosters the necessary give-and-take that can lead to an amicable divorce settlement. Many times those settlements include terms a court is not authorized to order.
However, collaborative divorce is not for everybody. Success depends on the commitment of the parties and their attorneys to a mutually agreeable outcome. If one party or lawyer becomes combative the case is not appropriate for the collaborative process.
Many divorces require the court to resolve the differences between the parties. However, Minot Law can help you explore the possibility of an amicable settlement through a collaborative process that focuses on meeting your unique needs and that of your children knowing that even when a marriage ends, relationships remain.
CASES WE HANDLE
FLORIDA FAMILY LAW
Marriage represents a legal contract that confers special rights and responsibilities to the parties involved. For example, the possessions of married partners are considered shared. But when a marriage ends in divorce all property and debts will be divided. Resolving child custody issues, child support and alimony payments can be complicated and stressful. Emotions typically run high when a couple decides to end their marriage.
When minor children are involved many times custody and visitation issues become the most emotionally difficult to resolve. The complexities of arriving at a custody arrangement and visitation schedule are complicated by the non-custodial parent’s requirement to pay a monthly allowance covering a portion of their child's expenses. Courts determine the amount of support based on the income levels of the parents.
Every marriage is unique and needs to be treated as such during a divorce. At Minot Law, we strive to find the best method to resolve your property division, spousal support, and child custody issues while maintaining sensitivity and respect for the emotions surrounding divorce. Our experience, skill, and compassion will help you and your family achieve the best possible outcome to protect you, your children, and your financial security as you begin a new life.
YOU DESERVE A FAIR TRIAL
WHY CHOOSE MINOT LAW
As a skilled civil litigation lawyer, Mike Minot represents clients in a wide range of practice areas. This includes all issues that may arise in real estate, construction, contracts, business activities, subdivisions and condominiums, zoning, environmental, and foreclosures. We also assist those needing help in family law matters. Whatever your need, Mike Minot is the civil litigator you want on your side to first provide an accurate assessment of your case and then battle for the outcome you deserve. With more than three decades of valuable experience, Michael is prepared for any scenario. You will recognize his devotion and ability from your first meeting.